Tura II destroyed by Nigerian authorities

Following the arrest and detention of the tanker Tura II (ex name Ali Riza Bey, IMO 6620462) by a private security company acting on behalf of state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) at an offshore location, the vessel has been destroyed by an attack helicopter. The tanker was said to have stolen oil from an offshore well in Ondo State.

After the vessel was seized and the crew detained, the ship was destroyed by a Nigerian military helicopter, without court proceedings. “There was no valid documentation for the Vessel or the crude oil cargo on-board at the time of the arrest,” according to NNPC spokesman Garba Muhammad, who added that the vessel had been operating with its AIS turned off for nearly all of the past 12 years. “The last reported location of the Vessel was Tin Can Port in July 2011″, he said. The vessel was last detected, by shoreside AIS receivers, in June 2014, off the coast of Lagos.

The 1965-built, Nigeria-flagged 499 gt Tura II does not have an owner listed in the Equasis database.

The story became even more interesting when it was revealed that the private security company concerned, Tantita Security Services, is headed by former Delta State rebel leader Tompolo. He was brought in for his first-hand knowledge of the pipeline network. Tantita has been successful in identifying a substantial number of illicit taps in the Niger Delta, including siphoning systems that steal from Shell’s 48-inch Trans-Forcados export trunk line.

Tompolo has previously claimed that “many of the security people are involved because there is no way you can load a vessel without settling [bribing] the security people in that region”.

There have been questions as to why the illegal tankers were burned so quickly, without any effort to secure evidence on board relating to their ownership or operations. Beyond the arrest of the crew, no further investigations are planned, according to NNPC. Photos of the Tura II also seemed to indicate that it was sitting rather high in the water if it had, as was implied, some 150,000 gallons of oil on board.